As in previous years, SwimSwam’s Power Rankings are typically somewhere between the CSCAA-style dual meet rankings and a pure prediction of NCAA finish order. However, since this is our final power ranking before the championships, these reflect a definitive NCAA finish order. These rankings are by nature subjective, and a jumping-off point for discussion. If you disagree with any team’s ranking, feel free to make your case in our comments section
Braden Keith, Spencer Penland, Robert Gibbs, Yanyan Li, Sophie Kaufman and Anya Pelshaw contributed to this report.
It all comes down to this.
After six and a half months of predictions, swimmers will take to the pool on Wednesday to kick off the Women’s NCAA Championships in Knoxville, Tenn., battling it out for four days before a national champion will be crowned Saturday.
In our final edition of the Power Rankings, there’s not a lot of movement at the top—Virginia remains the pick to three-peat (though it wasn’t unanimous), and Texas, Stanford, and NC State are favored to finish 2-3-4, which they’ve been penciled in for throughout the season.
Louisville, Florida, USC and LSU have jumped up the ranks after strong conference championships outings, while OSU, Indiana and Tennessee have dropped one spot each inside the top 10. Georgia, UNC and Kentucky have dropped two spots from early February, while Northwestern drops out of the top 25 and Hawaii enters the fold as an Honorable Mention.
Georgia Tech Yellowjackets (Previously: HM)
Can’t forget about freshman distance swimmer Deniz Ertan. -AP
Hawaii Rainbow Wahine (Previously: NR)
A bit of a bold take here, but let’s not forget that Laticia-Leigh Transom has two ‘A’ final-worthy best times (100 and 200 free) and they’ve got a 400 free relay seeded 9th with swimmers that don’t have to race any other events. Scoring 40+ points to sneak into the top 25 could be a possibility. (They are seeded to place 25th after all…) -YL
Arizona State Sun Devils (Previously: HM)
The Sun Devils would need a few individuals to break through (and Lindsay Looney to perform as expected) to enter the top 25, but it’s definitely possible, especially considering the momentum created by the men’s team. -JS
#25: ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS + (PREVIOUS RANK: HM)
The relays will need to be on point and Vanessa Herrmann has the ability to sneak into the 100 breast final. -JS
#24: ARIZONA WILDCATS ↑1 (PREVIOUS RANK: 25)
Delaney Schnell will keep the Wildcats in the top 25 on her own. As a diver who can compete in the ‘A’ final of all three events, she’s a good bet for 40+ points. This ranking may be too low given her ability. -JS
#23: VIRGINIA TECH HOKIES ↑1 (PREVIOUS RANK: 24)
Two Emma Atkinson ‘A’ finals and at least two relays staying in the top-16 will be crucial for Hokie success. -JS
#22: TEXAS A&M AGGIES ↑1 (PREVIOUS RANK: 23)
Like Kentucky, the Aggies aren’t seeded to score in any of the relays, but they’re really close in a few of them and the Stepanek/Goerigk duo can easily put up big points in their specialty events. -JS
#21: MIAMI (FL) HURRICANES ↑1 (PREVIOUS RANK: 22)
Tara Vovk could potentially give the Hurricanes some swimming points to go along with their diving duo of Mia Vallee and Emma Gullstrand, who singlehandedly placed them 22nd one year ago. -JS
#20: AUBURN TIGERS ↑1 (PREVIOUS RANK: 21)
A top-20 finish would be significant for a Tiger team that failed to record a point last season. Daisy Platts has been impressive since coming over from Bowling Green. -JS
#19: KENTUCKY WILDCATS ↓2 (PREVIOUS RANK: 17)
Getting a few relays in the top 16 will go a long way for Kentucky. They’re seeded to score zero points in the team events. -JS
#18: DUKE BLUE DEVILS ↑1 (PREVIOUS RANK: 19)
If Sarah Foley can make the same drops this year that she did at last year’s NCAAs, she could surprise us. I’m also interested to see how freshmen Kaelyn Gridley and Martina Peroni fare in their first NCAA meet. -YL
#17: MICHIGAN WOLVERINES ↓1 (PREVIOUS RANK: 16)
Without MacNeil or Olivia Carter, the Wolverines return just 13 individual points and will be looking to freshman Katie Crom and the relays to deliver. -JS
#16: WISCONSIN BADGERS ↓1 (PREVIOUS RANK: 15)
The team’s success hinges on the performances of Phoebe Bacon and Paige McKenna, who combined for 66 individual points last season and are only seeded for 41 this year. That tells me they largely swam through Big Tens and will have a big drop at NCs, and the emergence of Abby Carlson as a double-digit scorer should also help the Badgers. -JS
#15: NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS ↓2 (PREVIOUS RANK: 13)
Many Tar Heels were off their midseason times at ACCs, but I’m still intrigued about this team. The improvements of swimmers like Olivia Nel and Greer Pattison are ones to look out for, and having diver Emily Grund back is a big plus. -YL
UNC should get some diving points which helps bump them ahead of a few teams below. -AP
#14: GEORGIA BULLDOGS ↓2 (PREVIOUS RANK: 12)
Zoie Hartman is capable of more than the 20.5 points she scored last year. Only two of their relays are seeded to score though (200 free – 16th, 800 free – 9th). They’ll need to improve there to really contend with the teams hovering around the top 10. -SK
#13: LSU TIGERS ↑5 (PREVIOUS RANK: 18)
LSU is one of the biggest hit-or-miss question marks of this meet. On one hand, teams of their caliber tend to go all-out at conferences. But then they also seem to thrive and get better and better as they gain more momentum throughout the season, and if my observations are right, I can see them sneaking past a few “downward trend” teams. Either way, Maggie MacNeil and their world-class divers would be a good base. -YL
It’s going to be interesting to see how LSU tapers as a whole group this year. -AP
#12: USC TROJANS ↑2 (PREVIOUS RANK: 14)
USC had four individual scorers last year, two of whom are no longer on the team. I also think Kaitlyn Dobler scores fewer points than she did last year; even so, I think their relays keep them ahead of Wisconsin and move them from 16th in 2022 to 15th this year. -SK
#11: ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE – (PREVIOUS RANK: 11)
Despite their mess of a relay situation, Alabama still has a strong core of swimmers like Rhyan White, Kensey McMahon, Avery Wiseman, and Kalia Antoniou who can all see at least two ‘A’ final swims apiece. Their medley relays still look strong as well. -YL
#10: TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS ↓1 (PREVIOUS RANK: 9)
Tennessee reportedly shifted its focus from SECs to NCAAs this year. Time to see how that pays off. -SK
#9: CAL GOLDEN BEARS ↑1 (PREVIOUS RANK: 10)
I’m excited to see the Dave Durden taper take place for the Cal women for the first time. -YL
#8: INDIANA HOOSIERS ↓1 (PREVIOUS RANK: 7)
I have Indiana relatively high on my ballot, coming in at #7. They’re 11th in psych sheet scoring, but I feel that they’ll move up considerably based on a combination of diving points, improvement from relay seeding, and improvement in individual seeds. One such example of potential improvement is Mac Looze. One of IU’s best swimmers on the roster this year, Looze was just a touch off at Big Tens and she isn’t seeded to score any points. That being said, Looze made two ‘B’ finals at NCAAs last year and had a terrific spring/summer of LCM swimming, so there’s no reason to think she won’t make it back to finals again this year. -SP
No Tarrin Gilliland at Big Tens or Zones hurts Indiana’s upside. Anne Fowler is having a very good year on the boards though. -BK
#7: FLORIDA GATORS ↑1 (PREVIOUS RANK: 8)
Florida made a big statement at SECs. Their improved relays and Emma Weyant‘s individual points potential puts them well inside the top 10. -SK
Nobody was expecting Florida to win SECs by over 300 points, but they did just that, which really impressed me. They also dropped the most from their seed out of all teams last year which has me moving them up a few spots. -YL
#6: OHIO STATE BUCKEYES ↓1 (PREVIOUS RANK: 5)
Last year, the majority of Ohio State went all out at conferences and could have placed so much higher if they didn’t. This team has gotten so much better this year with the breakout performances of swimmers like Felicia Pasadyn, Josie Panitz, Morgan Kraus, Teresa Ivan and Kyra Sommerstad, and I just hope they learned their lesson from last season and don’t add like crazy. Plus, I think Buckeye sprint relays will be dangerous. -YL
#5: LOUISVILLE CARDINALS ↑1 (PREVIOUS RANK: 6)
Now NC State may have beat Louisville at ACCs, but I do feel like NC State benefitted from the ACC format more than Louisville did, as they do every year. With Louisville being better than NC State in 3/5 relays and having a higher ACCs to NCAAs improvement rate, I think I’ll give them the edge. There are several more UL swimmers that I’m high on retaining/improving upon their seed at NCAAs than NC State. -YL
#4: NC STATE WOLFPACK – (PREVIOUS RANK: 4)
With the absence of Sophie Hansson this season, the Pack will need names such as Abby Arens and Grace Sheble to play a bigger role individually than they did last season. Arens and freshman Kennedy Noble in particular had standout performances at ACCs, but I’m bullish on them maintaining that level this week and holding onto a top-four spot. -JS
#3: STANFORD CARDINAL – (PREVIOUS RANK: 3)
Stanford looks fantastic heading into this meet. My feelings on the team are that we’re going to see a lot of truly phenomenal performances, but they just won’t have quite enough to take down Texas or Virginia in the team standings. -SP
#2: TEXAS LONGHORNS – (PREVIOUS RANK: 2)
I’ll bite. When we score out the psych sheet, Virginia is leading Texas by 76.75 points. The Longhorns will score more than that in diving. It used to be that we couldn’t trust Texas to show up at NCAAs, but they’ve performed extremely well there the last few years, so I don’t think we have to worry about that anymore. Also, I feel confident that Texas will improve from their seeding in the relays overall, which will give them a boost. -SP
Texas has swum so well over the course of this season that the conversation has become less about whether they or Stanford will get second and more about if Texas can challenge Virginia for the title. -SK
I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling that Kelly Pash will win two individual NCAA titles this year. -YL
#1: VIRGINIA CAVALIERS – (PREVIOUS RANK: 1)
I think Virginia is the favorite, but when you factor in Texas’s returning divers, Texas is seeded to take first by less than 10 points. With Ella Nelson‘s DQ and Alex Walsh‘s 200 fly, I do think that UVA is under-seeded more than Texas is and they *did* outperform their psych sheet points last year by over 100 points, but you never know… -YL
Virginia is in a great spot heading into NCAAs once again. What I’m seeing is Virginia with a number of swimmers seeded right on the bubble score (seeded 17-20th). I’m guessing that those swimmers’ performances will make or break Virginia’s title hopes. -SP (ranked UVA 2nd)
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|#4||NC State||NC State||NC State||NC State||Louisville||NC State||NC State|
|#5||Ohio State||Louisville||Ohio State||Louisville||NC State||Louisville||Louisville|
|#6||Florida||Florida||Louisville||Florida||Ohio State||Ohio State||Ohio State|
|#8||Indiana||Ohio State||Cal||Ohio State||Indiana||Indiana||Indiana|
|#19||Texas A&M||Miami (FL)||Auburn||Duke||Auburn||Auburn||Auburn|
|#21||Arizona||Texas A&M||Miami (FL)||Arizona||Texas A&M||Miami (FL)||Kentucky|
|#22||Miami (FL)||Kentucky||Texas A&M||Virginia Tech||Virginia Tech||Virginia Tech||Texas A&M|
|#23||Auburn||Virginia Tech||Arizona State||Miami (FL)||Miami (FL)||Texas A&M||Arizona|
|#24||Virginia Tech||Auburn||Georgia Tech||Arkansas||Arizona||Georgia Tech||Virginia Tech|
|#25||Arkansas||Arkansas||Hawaii||Arizona State||Hawaii||Arizona State||Arkansas|
Two blue teams on the top-10, the rest orange-reddish.
Last year Texas broke a two year streak of dropping significant points from seed at NCAAs. To say “they’ve performed extremely well there the last few years” is just downright wrong. I think it’s more likely that last year was an anomaly. If you look at the 2022 psych sheet you’ll see that Texas was overall underseeded – they just didn’t swim that fast in-season. Erica Sullivan was seeded to score only 12 points, Kelly Pash just 19. And then their 200 and 400 free relays were seeded 16th and 14th.
This year is different – they had fast in-season swimming and they’re overall seeded very highly. There are not the same obvious opportunities to gain points.
UVA on… Read more »
Texas lost the women’s NCAA indoor track title to Arkansas over the weekend. Texas had more depth and many peg to peg experts prior to the meet were tallying up all the subordinate points and assigning Texas as likely victor. https://www.ncaa.com/news/trackfield-indoor-women/article/2023-02-14/predicting-2023-di-womens-track-and-field-champion-after-regular-season
Meanwhile Arkansas was defending champion. Superstars like Britton Wilson destroyed the regular season form chart en route to multiple NCAA/American records and another title. I see the same thing playing out for Virginia.
but wouldn’t you say UVA has depth and superstars?
Texas could be number 1 in my eyes if they stopped making those cringe edits of themselves. Really really weird.
Final writer ballots on the individual events?
I have no doubt Kelly Pash will have the best performances of her career but 2 individual titles is a deeeeep stretch
I’ll take Ruck over Pash in the W 200 FR and Luther over Pash in the W 200 FL.
2free and 2fly doesn’t really seem too unreasonable
Probably more a Marsh taper than a Durden taper but both have the qualifications!
UVA – 500 points minimum